An abandoned former chicken shed in Monmouth , which has been converted into a stylish holiday home, is among seven buildings shortlisted for an architectural award in this year’s National Eisteddfod.
The rundown barn has been transformed into a contemporary holiday home that sleeps eight people in four double bedrooms.
A floor to ceiling glass wall, which runs the length of the one-storey building, floods the living spaces with natural light and provides guests with views over the Black Mountains on the Wales-England border.
Seven buildings shortlisted
And now the transformation, by Chepstow-based Hall Bednarczyk Architects, has won a nomination for a Gold Medal for Architecture, in an award supported by the Design Commission for Wales and Royal Society of Architects in Wales.
The shortlist of seven building projects, located across Wales, was unveiled today at a reception hosted by the National Eisteddfod of Wales and supported by Design Commission for Wales and Royal Society of Architects in Wales at The Chapel, Abergavenny.
The other buildings in the shortlist are:
Burry Port Community Primary School, Carmarthenshire . A primary school designed to unite the town’s once separate infant and junior schools using innovative Welsh materials. Designed by Hereford-based Architype.
City centre community campus, Cardiff and Vale College, Cardiff. A modern wedge-shaped campus in the heart of the city that aims to engage students and the local community. Designed by BDP Architects throughout the UK and worldwide.
Caernarfon Castle Entrance Pavilion, Gwynedd. A glass structure to welcome visitors to the castle, as well as improve accessibility and visitor traffic at peak times. Designed by Donald Insall Associates’ Conwy office. (Offices throughout the UK)
Cardigan Castle, Ceredigion. A multi-discipline project that focussed on restoring aspects of the castle and its amenities. Designed by Purcell with offices throughout the UK and Asia.
Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre, Bangor, north Wales . A contemporary building to bridge the gap between the university’s main arts building and the lower city. Designed by Grimshaw Architects practising in London and worldwide.
Llandegfedd Visitor Watersports Centre, Pontypool, south Wales . A visitor centre and watersports centre to improve public accessibility and experience of the popular reservoir. Designed by Hall + Bednarczyk of Chepstow, Wales.
The Gold Medal recognises architectural excellence in buildings completed between January 1, 2013 and March 14, 2016 and recommended to the Eisteddfod as being of the greatest merit.
Gayna Jones, chair of the Design Commission for Wales, said: “The broad range of projects this year is encouraging as is their ingenuity. Learning, heritage and cultural life feature strongly in a range of settings, with the common factor being that each project demonstrates the skill of designers and the transformational impact of very good design. Given the range of setting, scale and disciplines of the projects however, we do not envy the selectors in their task this year.”
The shortlist was drawn up by selectors Alan Francis, former chairman of the Design Commission for Wales and co-founder of Gaunt Francis Architects, and Jonathan Vining, head of urban design at WYG Group in Cardiff.
After further deliberation over the coming month, just one of the buildings will be named winner.
‘Diverse high quality entries’
Mr Francis said: “We were delighted this year to receive a diverse and high quality selection of entries from a much wider range of work sectors and clients than has been the case in recent years. Both the private and public sectors were represented, and the excellent submissions ranged from large corporate headquarters to much smaller infill commissions.
“The difficulty for any judge in that scenario is in defining the selection criteria, and in determining how high to raise the bar for what is Wales’ foremost architectural award. We decided that whilst innovation, sustainability, materiality and a creative response to the brief were all important, they should be minimum criteria and that crucially, if the Gold Medal was to be awarded, it should be granted to a project that demonstrated an unwavering conviction to deliver that project rationally and beautifully, from the original concept right through the smallest of details, so as to provide an exemplar solution.
Exhibition at National Eisteddfod
The Gold Medal for Architecture may be awarded together with the Plaque of Merit, which is given to smaller projects of a value of up to £750,000, achieving high design quality.
All seven shortlisted projects for the Gold Medal will be included in the Architecture in Wales exhibition at the National Eisteddfod of Wales from July 29 to August 6.
Robert Firth, president at Royal Society of Architect in Wales (RSAW), said: “Of all the architecture awards, it’s often the National Eisteddfod Gold Medal shortlist that means the most to Welsh architects. The Medal has a fine pedigree with many distinguished winners over the years; RSAW members are always happy and proud to see their work exhibited in the show. The Medal is a wonderful snapshot of the best architecture being produced every year in Wales.”